THE CURRENT STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
Even in the most mature markets, consumers state they still want to receive advice, discuss certain high-value products face-to-face in a branch and, ultimately, deepen their
relationships with their financial institutions. As a result, the branch is not being abandoned; it is being transformed.
Financial institutions around the world are in various stages of branch transformation and technology integration. Some major banks, such as Bank of America, PNC and TD Bank
are conducting pilot projects with large rollouts planned soon. Others are just now thinking about starting a pilot.
At Bankers Equipment, we see the industry gaining momentum with their branch transformation initiatives as real-world benefits are being realized and documented. In our experience, the
most effective route to transformation often comes from a gradual evolution, not revolution. Many financial institutions typically start by adopting well-established, practical, disputive
technologies that enable incremental improvements. For example, they might adopt efficiency-creating technology, such as deposit automation at the ATM, before nontraditional
retail banking experiences, such as two-way video transactions.
On the other hand, disruptive technologies are what many picture when they hear “branch transformation.” These technologies do create value for the financial institution and consumer, but can be more difficult to drive adoption because they require behavior changes by staff and customers.
THREE STEPS TO A SUSTAINABLE BRANCH MODEL
While each branch’s situation is unique, developing a sustainable branch transformation strategy tailored to your specific needs is within reach by planning around demographics, taking a careful
approach to design and integrating digitization.
STEP ONE: UNDERSTAND DEMOGRAPHICS OF CUSTOMERS AND STAFF
Start by understanding who your customers are and what they want from you. The more precise you can be in gathering, analyzing and acting upon data, the more appropriate a strategy you can devise.
When developing your framework:
• Mine into proprietary customer research
• Collect new data on customer preferences and behaviors
• Analyze aspects such as branch traffic and transaction mixes
Additionally, consider your staff members. If you plan to turn tellers into sellers prepared to boost consumer engagement, consider how you will make that transition smooth through training, putting people in roles that suit their strengths and adopting connected technologies.
STEP TWO: IMPLEMENT A TAILORED DESIGN
When it comes to redefining the branch experience, design matters. Plan to address:
Look at creating positive experiences through:
• Aesthetic appeal
• Size and traffic of branch
• Customer journey
Analyze existing traffic patterns, current allocation of staff members’ time and other operational variables, such as:
• Staff/customer interactions
• Secure cash access
• Operational flow
Find the right balance of automation and human engagement for customers and your budget by considering your:
• Banking channel mix
• Ideal customer experience
• Customer/technology interactions
Create a future-proof, sustainable approach
to branch transformation that strives to:
• Improve brand perceptions
• Meet customer expectations
• Replicability of model
STEP THREE: BRIDGE THE PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL WORLDS
As the world is increasingly digitized, it is essential to connect physical components of the banking experience to the digital channels customers love.
The best path toward effective digitization depends on understanding your customers and establishing the experience you want to offer. Examples of models to consider include:
Some forward-thinking financial institutions are deploying remote, fully self-service branches that feature limited or no bank staff at the branch.
• They rely on technology for extensive automation of transactions for low operating costs.
• This allows banks to enter markets in a more cost-effective manner than usual.
For many institutions, a move to an all-selfservice model would be considered a drastic shift, but for some, conditions are right to realize major efficiencies through this format.
In this model, self-service units allow consumers to perform banking transactions but can also accommodate assistance from branch personnel.
• ATMs and kiosks allow everything from simple deposits and withdrawals to card dispensing, loan applications and other non-cash functions.
• Staff members armed with tablets use software to monitor self-service units, determine who is using them, and proactively assist and engage consumers.
• Two-way video connections allow consumers to access remote experts and expanded banking services through the self-service channel.
This model not only frees up staff and expedites transactions, but it gives staff members the insights they need to form rich relationships and more effectively pitch products and services to consumers
Some customers and markets demand personal interaction with trusted individuals, but it is still possible to create process efficiencies in these scenarios by automating time-consuming teller responsibilities.
• Teller cash recyclers provide tellers a more efficient, accurate, secure and less time-consuming way to perform their duties in the branch.
• Instead of counting cash, staff members engage in more face-to-face dialog with customers.
As you develop your approach, consider how you can offer customers an omnichannel experience that connects commerce from various aspects of your enterprise architecture. Experienced advisers can help you determine the right technology mix for you, based on your goals and what has been shown to work in similar situations, as well as how to tie it all together for better consumer experiences, no matter the channel being accessed.
For more information on how to tailor the right technology mix for your institution, please contact Bankers Equipment Service at 888-890-6661.
Source: Diebold Nixdorf